A Year in Review: Columbus' top stories of 2013 - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

A Year in Review: Columbus' top stories of 2013

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Near-Record Year for Homicides Near-Record Year for Homicides
Capt. Jack Long Passed Away in July Capt. Jack Long Passed Away in July
Sheriff Darr Speaks to City Council Sheriff Darr Speaks to City Council
MCSD Superintendent David Lewis MCSD Superintendent David Lewis
Whitewater Rafters Whitewater Rafters

In the early hours of 2013, the New Year began with a fatal shooting. The shooting at Majestic Sports Bar was the 1st of 22 homicides so far this year. It's the most since 2008, and 6 remain unsolved.

Columbus police had 3 deaths within their department. Captain Jack Long died two months after being diagnosed with cancer. He had served with the Columbus Police Department for 25 years. 31-year veteran Captain Vince Pasko died of an apparent suicide. Corporal Keith Slay died in the line of duty when he was responding to back-up and crashed into a north Veterans Parkway utility pole.

“Keith will be greatly missed by this department and by me and my family,” said Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren in a news conference after the accident.

Muscogee County Sheriff John Darr faced several issues in the first year of his second term. A jury found Darr discriminated against two women when he did not promote them to a captain position.

“I've never discriminated against anybody regardless of sex or race,” Darr told News 3 after one of his court hearings.

Darr also was questioned for spending more than 2 million dollars over his office's budget. He says the expenses were because of overtime and medical treatment for inmates.

The city faces budget issues of its own. They head into 2014 with a 6.5 million dollar deficit. Mayor Tomlinson says she is trying to cut frivolous spending.

“I always say plan for the worst and hope for the best. And I think that we're not planning for the worst -- we're not even planning for the very likely reality,” Mayor Tomlinson told News 3 in October.

It was an eventful year in education as the Muscogee County School Board called for an ethics investigation into Josh McKoon and Frank Myers. McKoon and Myers called for the board to get rid of their no-bid contract with the law firm Hatcher-Stubbs.

“You have a board of education and a leadership that is arrogant and unwilling to deal with this issue,” said Georgia State Senator Josh McKoon in an October interview.

Some board members said they had been threatened by McKoon and Myers during the process.

“Doesn't he have enough to do up there [in Atlanta] to represent the children? Why can't he get better legislation in Atlanta that would affect all of Georgia?” Board Member John Wells told News 3 earlier this year.

The GBI investigated and found McKoon and Myers had not done anything wrong

In the midst of the ethics probe, the school board hired a new superintendent. After a 16-month search, the board hired David Lewis out of Polk County, Florida.

Meanwhile, Phenix City school board and Superintendent Larry DiChiara parted ways. The two sides agreed to a $750,000 dollar buyout.

And it was a big year for Columbus tourism -- the new whitewater course exceeded expectations. And Columbus even got a glimpse of Hollywood with the Need for Speed filming.

Did we forget any stories? Join the conversation and comment below to let us know what you think the biggest stories of 2013 were in the Columbus-area.

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